Throwback Thursday: Lumber on the sales floor
“Lumber is moving indoors to spur retail volume.” That was the headline for an article in the Aug. 16, 1982, issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer.
One reason for the trend was to attract the attention of the DIY customer. Diamond International’s Anderson, Calif., warehouse unit went indoors with dimensional lumber in a merchandising experiment. O’Malley Lumber in Phoenix also brought in commodities such as gypsum.
It was all part of a cat and mouse game played by contractor-oriented operations to “boost retail sales without discouraging their long-time professional clientele.”
Other examples of indoor LBM included W.R. Grace’s Handy City store in Stone Mountain, Ga.; Courtesy Home Center of Forest Park, Ill., and Wickes in Langhorne, Pa.
The topic of LBM merchandising also allowed one home center executive to highlight his company’s service, at the expense of the competition.
Here’s Doug Jonson of Lampert Lumber of St. Paul, Minnesota. “Our reputation as a lumberyard dictates that, if we’re going to start retailing LBM products, we have to provide strong in-store service as well. Chains like Hechinger and Handy Dan don’t have that obstacle to overcome and can get away with much less service.”
UFPI touts ‘record’ Q1 earnings and sales
Universal Forest Products, Inc. reported "record" sales and earnings for the first quarter, with both metrics up by double-digit increments.
“The employees of Universal delivered record first-quarter sales and profits, underscoring the success of our balanced business model and targeted approach to growing our business,” said CEO Matthew Missad. “Those records are even more impressive if you consider we did not have the same purchasing and weather advantages we enjoyed during the first quarter of 2016.”
Net sales for the quarter ended April 1 were $846.1 million, up 24% year-over-year. Net earnings were up 10% to $21.1 million.
The company’s retail and construction markets had net sales increases of 15% and 21%, respectively. The industrial market grew 37%, largely because of the September 2016 acquisition of idX Corp.
“While we are pleased with these results, we see opportunities to do much more. We’re focused on a number of opportunities to grow sales and create efficiencies among our recent acquisitions that we expect will benefit us in 2017 and beyond," added Missad.
Unit sales contributed to 17% of gross sales growth, while higher lumber prices contributed 6%. New product sales were $74.6 million, up from $64.7 million in the year-ago period.
Mullican Flooring’s domestic move
As part of their effort to broaden their domestic manufacturing footprint, Mullican Flooring says it will bring full production of all sawn engineered products to the U.S. beginning early summer 2017.
“Since 2012 we have converted much of our engineered hardwood production from imported to domestic manufactured product,”
The company has since 2012 converted some of its engineered hardwood product from imported to domestic, said Neil Poland, president, Mullican Flooring. This latest announcement marks a bigger step in the same direction.
“We are looking at this change as part of our effort to improve efficiencies and long term value within the company,” Poland said. “The move will allow us to tighten quality control as well as to stay true to a long-standing corporate commitment to support domestic production.
He added that manufacturing is the foundation of the U.S. economy.
In addition to bringing new jobs to the U.S., Poland said “Through this effort, we will be able to react to market changes almost instantaneously.”
The first product that will transition to the U.S. production facility this summer is EuroSawn White Oak in a 7-inch width. The collection will be immediately available in 6 colors. Plans to transition additional overseas production to the U.S. will be announced in the third quarter.